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Montréal vs. Toronto

Who Wins?

By Kendall Defoe Published 2 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - October 2023
Montréal vs. Toronto
Photo by Conor Samuel on Unsplash

Another summer is heading to the hills… That means that winter is coming to Montreal and many of my friends in England, Australia and anywhere else where the sun will keep shining past five in the evening wonder why I am still here. Why put up with the cold, the ice you don’t always see until it is under your back, the loss of mobility and the unending snow?

Good questions, but let me point out that I live in Montreal, a city that knows that it will get cold and knows how to live with it. Other Canadian cities try and hardly succeed the way this fair island does. So, I will stay and love whatever comes with the later months of the year.

Maybe that is not enough. Maybe you are still asking yourself why I do not move to another Canadian city; a city that has developed an international reputation and an economic environment that is friendlier to someone with very pre-intermediate French skills. And I guess that city would be Toronto, right? Why not? It has everything that we are supposed to expect from a large metropolis and it is not nearly as cold as Montreal.

By Jackie Hutchinson on Unsplash

Now, the analysis that I am creating here allows me to avoid making some of the obvious comparisons between the two towns that I am expected to make, like comparing Toronto to Montreal is like comparing Los Angeles to New York (that one I do not mind); like comparing apples to applesauce (a bit weak); or finally the Police with Sting solo on an album playing a lute (draw your own conclusions about that one). But there is one comparison I think I can get away with, if I explain everything carefully.

Imagine that you are a man who has just arrived in a new town and you are in a local bar. There are two women in the joint who are quite different from each other. The first woman is wearing a very expensive dress, a new well-coiffed head of hair, and all the jewelry, make-up and lipstick that anyone would want in one round. Everything is pushed or pulled into place to make the package an inviting one.

You pay a lot of attention to this woman. You like what you see. But you may finally notice that this woman is trying too hard to grab any attention she can find (she needs validation). She fulfills every desperate and grasping stereotype of a woman on the make who is trying to overcompensate for something missing in her life.

The second woman is attractive without trying too hard to be so. She is also friendly if she wants to be, not if she has to be, and never just to get a man interested. She knows why you are there and may even end up buying you a drink. She will speak any language she chooses, is not too dressed up or worried about her hair, and will often be with a friend (if it is a boyfriend, her body language and general attitude will let you know as much). There is no pressure to take her home, or even get her phone number (and it does not matter because just being there has made your night). And if she really does not want to talk to you, someone else will soon be along who definitely will want to hear what you have to say.

Now, which woman do you think represents Toronto, and which one represents Montreal?

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You can find more poems, stories, and articles by Kendall Defoe on my Vocal profile. I complain, argue, provoke and create...just like everybody else.

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About the Creator

Kendall Defoe

Teacher, reader, writer, dreamer... I am a college instructor who cannot stop letting his thoughts end up on the page. Very grateful to have found this other opportunity to expose things to the light.


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Comments (19)

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  • Dave Wettlaufer9 days ago

    First off, Toronto is 5 hours south so, you can’t expect balmy weather but it is a little better than Montreal. I haven’t been on a dating seen for many years or in Montreal but I would guess the woman trying hard to grab your attention is from T..O..??? And for the winters in Canada, I was in my 30s before it dawned on me to dress properly, now I love it…bring it on.

  • I love both places

  • Is this a trick question? Montreal is actually the friendly bartender who keeps you wanting to come back for more. It's "Cheers" if that hadn't been set in Boston.

  • JBazabout a month ago

    Fair enough. I liked both places, and prefer not to say which one I like better. I will say this though, one really has a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’

  • Donna Fox (HKB)about a month ago

    This was great Kendall!! Calgary is one of those ill prepared cities when winter comes and it's not great! I've never been to Montreal or Toronto but you make it sound interesting! I love the insights you shared and they way you compared them to each other! Great work and congrats on Top Story!!

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    Lesser known fact about me - I lived in Montreal for almost three years. Visited Toronto and liked both but preferred Montreal. Many happy memories made there. And I loved the winters. You have to embrace them.

  • Tom Bakerabout a month ago

    Where do the Videodrome signals originate from? I can't believe it's Pittsburgh. I've heard you have such a lovely Cathode Ray Mission in Montreal. Love and napalm.

  • Jay Kantorabout a month ago

    Take me to Yorkville Street — Such an interesting Toronto Treasure — ‘j’

  • Cathy holmesabout a month ago

    As a transplanted Torontonian, I can agree that there's definitely a air of arrogance, especially downtown. There are also a lot of great, down to earth people. I can't really speak of Montreal, as the only time I've spent there was passing through on a road trip back home to Newfoundland. Well done and congrats on the TS.

  • Marie Wilsonabout a month ago

    One word: Vancouver! Okay, I'm from there & I love the ocean, the mountains & the weather: yes, I like rain! Anyway, I also like your story & Montreal, yet I live in Toronto (I make her wipe the pancake & lipstick off). Congrats on TS!

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Loved it!!! Congratulations on Top Story too!°💕❤️❤️

  • Rare Storiesabout a month ago

    Good Job!

  • Naveedabout a month ago

    Very creative and powerful Kendall. Well done! Congratulations on your Top Story

  • The second woman is Montreal and the first one is Toronto? I may be wrong but I really loved your analogy!

  • Sid Aaron Hirji2 months ago

    Wow I never put this idea in my mind. I’ve only ever lived in one city and don’t want to move only because I’d have to start over. Like you I live in a Canadian city that embraces the cold- Edmonton.

  • Matthew Fromm2 months ago

    I'm pretty well-traveled for an American, which makes me equivalent to a hermit compared to the rest of the world but I digress, and I believe that Montreal is the best city in North America.

  • Dana Crandell2 months ago

    I haven't had the pleasure of visiting either city. My only trip to Canada so far has been to haul a U-Haul truckload of household belongings to an ex-neighbor, who had been deported, to Blackie, AB. (There's a story there, alright.) It was a pleasant trip and everyone we dealt with was a shining example of Canadians' reputation for being just downright nice. Especially the border guards. All of that "TMI" aside, I really appreciated your analogy, and this reminded me of the questions I get from people about why we're returning to Wyoming.

  • Naveed2 months ago

    "Montreal's unique character and ability to embrace the cold are well-captured in your words. It's a city with a spirit like no other. ❄️🏙️"

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